Community, Space and Perception of Insecurity: The Case of One Urban Community Garden Project in Lima, Peru

Author/s: Fiorella Pinollos Baffigo

Contact: fiorepinillosbaffigo@gmail.com

Creation date: 2016

Senior supervisor: Karen Ferguson

Keywords: Fear of crime; collective efficacy; CPTED; perceptions of insecurity; Lima, crime prevention

Geographic focus: Villa Maria del Triunfo, Lima, Peru; Lima, Peru

Research question/s: What is the relationship between the urban community garden project in Villa Maria del Triunfo and the perceptions of insecurity in this marginal neighbourhood of Lima?


Significance

Public opinion surveys report that more than 80% of the population of Lima fear crime in public space, but security concerns vary according to socio-economic status. This study examines the case of one community garden project that had been claimed to have had a positive impact on security in the marginalized neighbourhood of Villa Maria del Triunfo in Lima, particularly regarding reducing gang-related conflicts and violence.

Findings

Using an ethnographic approach and an analytical framework based on two established theories of crime prevention, Pinillos Baffigo identified possible elements of the garden project with potential to improve community members’ perceptions of insecurity. Her findings do not support claims made regarding the positive impact of community gardens on security or social cohesion. Instead, Pinillos Baffigo found that the elements of crime prevention that were present had a very limited effect on reducing fear of crime in the study area. However, the findings point to areas for future study, including the effects of privatization of public space on perceptions of security.